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Need school as prop? Ogden wants to get rid of one

OGDEN -- When the Ogden School Board found out the demolition of Washington High School would cost close to $500,000, members brainstormed for other ways to get rid of it.

At least one board member would like to see the decrepit building destroyed with a little flair."Movie companies often construct buildings just to implode them and catch it on film," board president Debbie Samples said. "Maybe there's one out there who would like to implode this one for film footage and save the school district the cost of demolition."

Samples also suggested a local fire department could use the building for training purposes and burn it down in the process.

"We're not looking for volunteers to destroy the building but are hoping for some viable alternatives that won't cost the district much money," Samples said.

State and federal laws require the asbestos in the building be removed before demolition, no matter how it is destroyed. R&R Environmental bid the asbestos removal at $37,800, but that's cheap compared to the cost of demolishing the building, which would likely be from $350,000 to $450,000.

The school board wants to tear down the building by the end of next year to build a new elementary school. Refurbishing the existing building and bringing it up to current building codes would cost about $7 million.

"The building has been added on to several times," Samples said. "Making it earthquake-resistant would be a huge and costly challenge in itself."

Although nearly vacant, the old building echoes from years rich in history. The lot was originally donated to the Ogden school board by Brigham Young on Nov. 30, 1875.

The center part of the existing building where the administrative office resides dates to 1921. Much of the rest of the building was added during the 1920s, and in 1959, the girl's gym, cafeteria, 10 classrooms and a multipurpose room were added at a cost of $550,000.

The building eventually became an alternative high school.